Ghana has approved a deal with the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland on the transfer of convicted persons. As part of the deal, the UK government is assisting with refurbishment and expansion to improve facilities in some of Ghana’s prisons.
The approval follows the adoption of a report by the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs on the said deal, presented on the floor of the Legislature by the Committee’s chairman, Mr Magnus Kofi Amoatey.
The ratification is spurred by an amendment to its existing law, Transfer of Convicted Persons Act 2007, Act 743. Ghana enacted the Transfer of Convicted Persons Act 2007, Act 743 and proceeded to sign a bilateral agreement with the United Kingdom to that effect.
Eight years after the implementation of the law, Ghana amended the Act in line with additional Protocols to the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons.
The amendment provided for some circumstances under which the concerns of a convicted person will not be sought by the sentencing stage.
The amendment was, therefore, to waive the concerns of sentenced persons to certain circumstances such as the Deportation Order or where the convicted person attempts to escape from lawful custody prior to the end of serving the sentence.
Following the amendment Ghana signed an agreement with the United Kingdom on November 12, 2015 to that effect, thereby, necessitating the ratification of the said deal between the two countries and by extension with Northern Ireland.
Presenting the report, Mr Amoatey said the Attorney-General of Ghana, in spite of the waiver, still reserved the power or the right to give consent for the transfer of a sentenced person.
“The implementation of the agreement will not compromise the human rights of sentenced persons and Ghana stands to benefit from the Government of the United King in the reform of our prisons,” he added.
Mr Ben Abdallah Banda, the Deputy Ranking Member of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and MP for Offinso South, commenting on the issue, said: “A refusal to ratify this agreement may be seem like this House is trying to avoid the implementation of our own laws.”
In his view, the ratification of the agreement was in line with the Transfer of Convicted Persons Act which Parliament approved in 2015.The House also ratified the Paris Agreement on Climate Change which seeks to save the planet.
The Agreement of which Ms Hanna Tetteh, the Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Minister, had signed on behalf of Ghana and the heads of government of 170 other countries, will expect each country to make voluntary national commitments to limit global warming to “well below” two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
It also binds countries to the promises they made to cut greenhouse-gas emissions.